The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has called for the ICT industry to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 45 percent from 2020 to 2030.

To keep in compliance with the Paris Agreement, the United Nations agency has developed a new standard it believes will help reduce emissions. ITU L.1470 puts forward emission-reduction trajectories for operators of mobile networks, fixed networks and data centers.

Standard stuff

DDoS rack at sea
– DCD/Fay Marney

ITU L.1470 “GHG emissions trajectories for the ICT sector compatible with the UNFCCC Paris Agreement,” was developed in collaboration with the Global Enabling Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), GSMA and SBTi. It is supported by associated Guidance for ICT Companies setting Science-Based Targets.

This standard, which is a non-binding recommendation, provides trajectories of GHG emissions for the global ICT sector and sub-sectors which are quantified for the year 2015 and estimated for 2020, 2025 and 2030. It also lays out a long-term ambition for 2050. Specifics of the standard are unfortunately restricted to ITU Members only.

“This new ITU standard offers authoritative guidance on the pathway towards net-zero emissions for the ICT industry,” ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao said.

“The standard is an example of what can be achieved with good collaboration between key partners. It represents a significant contribution to the international effort in pursuit of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”

29 operator groups representing 30 percent of the mobile connections worldwide are committed to science-based targets, industry association GSMA claims.

These groups include América Móvil, AT&T, BT, Bharti Airtel, Deutsche Telekom, Elisa, Far Eastone, KPN, Magyar Telekom, NTT DOCOMO, Orange, Proximus, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Safaricom, Singtel, SK Telecom, STC, Swisscom, T Mobile USA, Taiwan Mobile, TDC, Tele2, Telefónica, Telekom Austria, Telenor, Telia Company, Telstra, Verizon and Vodafone.

News of the standard comes after reports the EU is looking into making data centers carbon neutral, and a landmark study found that the industry was responsible for just one percent of global power usage due to huge efficiency gains.